‘The Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott’ by Josi S. Kilpack

tlotl-jskSTORY: One is his first love.
The other is his best love.
Which will be Walter’s true love?

Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and romantic temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and on a windy morning in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?

REVIEW: Edinburgh Scotland – 1791

Walter Scott had been nicknamed Wattie by his mother. She was very strict that he attend church and learn the “guid” word. It was difficult for him to keep still as he wanted to to be outside. He learned many stories in his youth and wanted to write about them. One day at age 19, he sees a young lady who totally enthralls him. As he boldly introduces himself, he learns her name is Williamina (Mina) and her mother is Lady Belches. The young lady appears to be only around age 14. The family is in town for the father to attend Session. Walter’s mother and Lady Belches were girls together so Walter is allowed to escort Mina home.

1795

Walter eagerly awaits Mina’s return as they winter in Edinburgh each year. He is now a barrister and she is age 19. Walter had had infantile paralysis when he was a child and was left with a small limp. But he is an athletic man and he has worked hard to reduce the effects of his illness.

Walter is a huge fan of the theater and always enjoys going. This year, Mina is quite popular with the men and enjoys dancing with them. With his limp, dancing is a bit difficult for Walter. While Walter and Mina enjoy being together, he knows it is too soon to declare himself to her. When Mina is told by her father that she is to marry someone more prestigious than Walter, she is crushed.

Charlotte Carpentier, age 25, is enjoying the theater and a Shakespeare play, “The Winter’s Tale.” Charlotte’s guardian is Lord Downshire. She and her brother were originally from France but they were sent to England as children to be cared for by Lord Downshire. Their parents had not lived up to their duty as parents. Her guardian tells her that it time she wed and suggests an older widower with 5 children. She is horrified and turns him down. That is when Lord Downshire tells her that she needs to wed or find a way to support herself so she soon learns about her finances but is determined to stay single.

We then follow Walter as he loses the love of his life, Mina, but finds another woman, Charlotte. It takes a long time for his broken heart to mend but his friendship with Charlotte is one that grows.

This is an interesting story of Sir Walter Scott in his younger years. The author has put a lot of research into this book and makes the story quite interesting.

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Connie for b2b

‘All About Seduction’ by Katy Madison

aas-kmSTORY: She had never known passion like this…

Caroline Broadhurst is about to take a lover—at her husband’s command. For fifteen years, Caroline has done everything her much older husband has desired—except provide an heir. Now he has given her an ultimatum: seduce a suitable gentleman and bear a son. Caroline would never think of bowing to such a shameful order, but then she meets Jack Applegate.

Jack has longed for the beautiful, untouchable Caroline for years, but the chasm between them was too wide to ever dream of crossing. Now, fate and passion have thrown them together, but the potential scandal threatens to smother their love. And when a violent secret comes to light, only a terrible sacrifice will prevent the flame of their affection from being snuffed out forever.

REVIEW: I’m afraid to even start telling you about ALL ABOUT SEDUCTION. You might find me tripping all over myself while gushing and praising this author that, low and behold, I NEVER read before!

What an oversight on my part!

The blurb adequately describes the story, and while this plot has been done before and as recently as Loraine Heath’s WAKING UP WITH THE DUKE, Ms. Madison’s take on the plot is still unique and surprising. I found the story well written, characters three-dimensional, as well as the time and the situation our hero and heroine find themselves in, very realistically portrayed. Their feelings for each other, their treatment of one another, was very touching and full of raw emotion.

Caroline’s loyalty to her husband, even after he demands she take a lover to get pregnant with an heir, is commendable; but her strength is shaken while torn between that loyalty, desire for the one man she could never have, and her overwhelming desire for a child. The humiliation she endures at some of the ‘aristocratic gentlemen’ of her husband’s choosing is painful, and it almost breaks her resolve while making the reader fume.

To say that Jack Applegate is your typical hero is an understatement. The handsome, young man we meet comes from a huge family, is poor, hardworking, and thoroughly down on his luck. Yet he’s got dreams and a plan to better himself, to basically pull himself out of this Godforsaken place and make his fortune in manufacturing. Then the unthinkable happens, and our hero is faced with life-changing decisions that will make or break his future.

Jack and Caroline embark on a journey of discovery that is not to be missed. While Caroline finally connects to her passionate nature, Jack learns that determination and perseverance are his strengths, and no matter what or who stands in his way, he will prevail.

If you’ve never read this author, please seek her work out. I highly recommend this emotional story of unique and tender love that impressed me to a point that I was sure to track down the author’s previous book, TAINTED BY TEMPTATION, and add it to my TBR shelf.

Melanie for RRAH

‘A Scot in the Dark’ by Sarah MacLean

asitd-smlSTORY: Lonesome Lily Turned Scandalous Siren

Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn’t hesitate…until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.

Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke

The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.

Tartan Comes to Town

Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else’s problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It’s the perfect plan, until Lily declares she’ll only marry for love…and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much…

REVIEW: Let me start off by saying that I’ve read this author before and I found her writing good, but her heroes and heroines are very hard to like. And when that happens, usually I loose the interest in characters and no matter the prose, plot or pace will help me like the book.

In this story I just couldn’t stomach the pathetic heroine. She rubbed me the wrong way throughout the story. As for the chemistry between the two? I felt none. I was told numerous time how she loves this man, and then BOOM! She falls for another.

I’m sorry to say that this story was a big disappointment to me. I know that if you’re this author’s big fan, you’ll probably not heed my words and read it, but I just can’t recommend it.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘Taming a Wild Earl’ by Laurel Wellman

tawe-gsSTORY: She prefers horses to heirs …

Amelia West, the highly independent daughter of a penniless gentleman, has no use for London society and the superficial cruelty of the marriage market. She prefers to spend her time on the estate of the Earl of Croftridge in rural Yorkshire, where she grew up, and which she’s managed since her father’s death. The current Earl is pursuing a life of dissipation in the city, leaving Amelia free to do as she pleases — and it pleases her greatly to help the less fortunate and rescue neglected animals.

He’s chosen devilry over duty…

Haunted by his brother’s death, John XX does his best to numb the pain with liquor, gaming, and women. He doesn’t deserve to be the Earl, and would rather pretend he isn’t. Until, that is, he learns that his estate manager may be swindling him.

A meeting of the minds …

John can scarcely credit the temerity of the upstart young woman who’s taken over his manor. Amelia wishes the reprobate Earl would go back to London and leave her to her good works. Can they both learn to see past their prejudices for the good of the estate?

REVIEW: This is an impressive debut and within only 150 pages you’ll find a sweet yet complex romance and an intriguing plot.

What made this story fun was is its unconventional thirty year old heroine with spunk and wit. Throughout the story her persona had me in a permanent state of chuckles, and that alone deserves kudos.

The hero was a complete opposite to the heroine and even though they were like water and oil, for some reason their opposites were just a perfect fit.

If you’re looking for a new author that pens well written debut with strong characters and an opposites attract trope, please give this one a try. It’s free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘To Marry a Scottish Laird’ by Lynsay Sands

tmasl lsSTORY: Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan…with the most sinful of curves.

Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved…until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding…and lead to a love she’s never known?

REVIEW: I was mightily disappointed with this story. The blurb sounded very good and I’m a fan of the author, but this story lacked in characterization, passion and flow. The plot was way too predictable and boring.

Once I encounter all these problems with the story, I’m in constant struggle to finish it. In the end, I’m hard pressed to recommend it. In fact, I’m giving up on this series and probably won’t read the third installment.

Melanie for b2b

Spotlight on Danelle Harmon and ‘The Wayward One’!

two dhSTORY: Irish Captain Ruaidri O’ Devir has no love for the English. Taken from his family and pressed into the Royal Navy at a young age, he is now a commander for the fledgling American Continental Navy, hand-picked by John Adams himself to steal a potent new explosive from the British. Ruaidri expects to be successful in his mission. What he doesn’t expect is to fall in love with the sister of the man he’s crossed an ocean to abduct…

Beautiful Lady Nerissa de Montforte is the youngest sibling in a powerful and aristocratic English family. Fiercely guarded by her overprotective brothers, she pines for love after a longtime betrothal was cruelly cut short. When she accompanies her brother to a demonstration of his new explosive, she never dreams that her wildest longings to find love and freedom are about to be fulfilled … by a man who is wrong for her in every single way except the one that matters most…

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo / Smashwords /

EXCERPT:

“But ye didn’t count on wantin’ to kiss me, now, did you?”

“I have nothing to lose at this point, do I?”

“No, but ye’ve got everythin’ to gain.”

“How so?”

He laughed, and it wasn’t just humor, but something dark just beneath the surface, something restless and dangerous and riding a narrow edge. Something full of challenge. “What’re ye goin’ to do when ye get back to England, lass?”

“Do?”

“Aye, do.”

“Why, I suppose I will … rest for a few days … perhaps accept the calls of my closest friends … write in my diary of this awful experience—”

“Awful?” He raised a black eyebrow.

“I’ve been abducted, nearly seen a man drown, almost been in a sea fight, and been kissed by a man who is altogether … unsuitable.”

“Ye needed to be kissed, and still do. Ye need to be kissed until yer lips are bruised and yer head is swimmin’ and ye can’t think of anythin’ but the feel of a man’s arms around ye and the anticipation of what comes next. Ye’ve never had a proper kiss in your life, have ye?”

“Of course I have!”

“No, ye haven’t.”

Her chin came up. “I’ll remind you, Captain O’ Devir, that I was affianced once. I can assure you I’ve been kissed.”

“Well now, that both answers and poses a question, it does. Ye’re young, probably heavily dowered, as lovely as Ireland is green and probably have men fallin’ at your feet like flies. Affianced once but no more, and still not spoken for. Why not?”

She felt the inevitable shame. The anger. The freefall of her heart as the events of the last months washed over her. “I would rather not talk about … my affairs.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s none of your business!”

“Aye, ’tis right you are. None of me business.” He smiled that hard, razor’s edge smile, sighed, and appeared to relent.

Nerissa turned her face away to look over the waves.

“Why not?” he persisted, purposely bumping her with his elbow.

Frustrated, she turned to deliver a rebuke but he was grinning, and she realized he was intentionally baiting her and that getting her hot and flustered was, in some way, a victory for him.

“If you really must know, Captain, I … I have been holding out. Hoping that Perry would change his mind. Come to his senses. I loved him, and I don’t want to talk about him or any other potential suitors.”

“Why not?”

“Don’t you have any other words in your vocabulary besides those two?”

“Can’t think of any at the moment.”

He was still looking at her, one brow raised, waiting. “We could talk about you and me, if ye like.”

“There is no ‘you and me.’”

“There could be, if ye wanted it as much as I do….”

============================================

REVIEW: This is book five in the de Montforte series and many fans of this series will be overjoyed to finally read Nerissa’s story. I’ve read all of them and this one is my least favorite.

That said, I must say that the story is well written and with some great prose.

The night wasted no time in swallowing him.

~~~~~ *** ~~~~~

She was, in short, unreachable. Untouchable. Unobtainable.

~~~~~ *** ~~~~~

Velour, Virtue, and Victory was the family motto.

~~~~~ *** ~~~~~

Although it starts off a bit slow, the pace picks up fairly quickly and the action and addition of de Montforde brothers, especially Lucien, had me enjoy it to the max.

The only reason I haven’t fully enjoyed this story as much as I did the previous four, were the principal players.

As much as I liked them separately, together they had absolutely no chemistry. I honestly couldn’t figure it out. The hero was someone who had strength, charm and allure, but when it came to the scenes with them together, he came off boorish, overbearing and callas. By the time they were falling into bed, which was way too soon, I should have felt the connection, and I just didn’t.

In contrast, I liked the heroine much more and thought her characterization well done and much more believable, until she was in a scene with the hero, at which point she becomes naïve and at times, silly. I wish the author had given this relationship more time and space to grow, maybe become friends and allow the passion to develop in a slow burn. I believe that this would have made their first intimacy much more believable.

What I loved the most in this story was the action on the ship. It was written exceptionally well and I felt the tension as I was reading it. Now, I’m not well versed in anything nautical and most of the jargon was over my head, but I L.O.V.E.D. all the running around, dialogue and fighting. That I understood!

Another thing I loved was the appearance of Nerissa’s brothers. It made me realize how much I adored those books and now I’m ready to reread them all. Oh, and how can I forget Brendan and Mira?! Listen, if you’ve not read ‘Captain of My Heart’, then you better get to it. That was a romance for the ages! When I encountered them here, I just let out one of the most loudest sighs …

If you’re a fan of this author and this series, then this is a no-brainer! You have to read this story. It completes the series well. But if you’ve never read this author, then I would urge you to get the first book in this series, ‘The Wild One’, which has been FREE for a long time now. That was the book that had added Ms. Harmon to my ever growing list of favorite authors.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author

AUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

A sneak peek of ‘The Wayward One’ from Danelle Harmon!

Coming on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2016!

two dh

BOOK BLURB: A bold, hot-blooded Irishman on a dangerous mission … a cool and aristocratic Englishwoman who was never meant to be his captive…

Captain Ruaidri O’ Devir is a bold, hot-blooded Irishman on a dangerous mission … Lady Nerissa de Montforte is a cool and aristocratic Englishwoman who was never meant to be his captive.

The sexy, emotional, exciting and heart-stopping conclusion to the bestselling and wildly popular internationally, the de Montforte series by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Danelle Harmon.

PRE-ORDER LINKS: Amazon

SNEAK-PEAK:

She spoke so casually that Ruaidri had trouble believing that her feelings for this man had been as warm as she claimed them to have been. He was used to women who wore their hearts on their sleeves, their emotions, needs and desires on display for all to see. This cool, elegant woman beside him … did she lack that warmth, or had breeding and class choked off any expression of emotion she might otherwise have shown?
“Ye think he broke yer heart, don’t ye, lass?”
“Of course he did.”
“Yer heart isn’t broken, Lady Nerissa.”
She looked up then, frowning. “How dare you presume to know what is in my heart.”
“Yer heart wasn’t broken, because ye never really loved him the way ye thought ye did, did you?”
“What?”
“You stand here beside me and relate this tale of woe t’ me with a dry eye and all the feeling ye might use to describe a bucket of sand. I think there’s more to you than that, and I think that this man, this Perry, would have made ye miserable. He wasn’t good enough for ye.”
“How dare you, Captain O’ Devir!”
“Well, I’m standin’ here, lookin’ at you. Ye’re made pretty enough to make a man weep, you are, and if this piece of shite couldn’t make up his mind and sweep you off to the altar, he sure wouldn’t have made ye a strong husband. Is that what ye would have settled for? A wishy-washy nob who not only couldn’t make up his mind, but was also gullible enough to be taken in by yer brother’s schemin’?”
She just looked at him, mouth agape. To deny his conclusions would have screamed of falseness; to her credit, she did not.
“He was,” she finally admitted, looking back out over the sea, “…indecisive.”
“And you wanted that in a husband?” He snorted. “Doesn’t seem he was worth a broken heart. Don’t tell me ye’re pinin’ for this blatherin’ idiot. Why, did he ever even kiss ye?”
“Captain!” she gasped, outraged.
“Well, did he?”
“Of course.”
“With passion?”
“He was a gentleman. He … he abided by the rules of propriety.”
“Bollocks.”
She gasped, her eyes widening.
“He was an arse. When are ye goin’ to get good and angry about what he did to ye? If he loved you as ye deserve to be loved, he wouldn’t have dragged his feet, he’d have had a ring on yer finger and you in his bed before ye even had time to consider the difference between a kiss of passion and a kiss of ‘propriety.’” He shook his head. “Ye don’t throw gold overboard. Ye don’t hold a diamond up to the light and wonder whether it’s the real thing when it’s blindin’ ye with its brilliance. Indecisive piece of shite.”
“You did not know him!”
“Why are ye defendin’ him? He took, arguably, the best years of yer life with his wafflin’ like a one-footed duck.”
“Lots of people are indecisive … unsure.”
“Not in my line of work, they aren’t. Indecision will make a person dead, very dead. Oh no, I may be many things, Lady Nerissa, but I can assure you I’m not indecisive.”
“And your point?”
“My point is, the good Lord gave ye a face and form to bring a man to his knees. Yer earl was an idiot. I barely know you, but I can tell ye right now that if I were to kiss ye, it would sure as hell not be a kiss of propriety.”
“Of course it wouldn’t. You are anything but a gentleman.”
“Aye, ‘tis true. But I could show you what a kiss ought to feel like. Taste like. Make ye feel like.”
Her head jerked up, her fingers went to her throat, and in the darkness, he could see the twin stains that suddenly bloomed on her cheeks. “Captain, what makes you think I want you to kiss me?”
“Everythin’ about ye.” He unclasped his hands from behind his back and reaching out, finally tucked that errant strand of hair behind her ear, noting that she did not flinch or slap his hand away. “The way yer eyes look suddenly intrigued despite the protests of yer tongue. The fact that ye haven’t slapped me. The fact that when I suggested it, ye swayed toward me just the slightest bit.” He cocked his head, letting a little smile touch the corner of his mouth. “Ye’d enjoy it, you know.”
“You are arrogant and audacious.”
“And I could kiss ye senseless.”
She turned from the rail to face him, her eyes a defiant challenge that intrigued and amused him. She had been jilted by this complete arse of an earl, had been manipulated by the even bigger arse that was her brother but she was no simpering miss, and she was honest enough with herself that the idea of letting him kiss her was one that she viewed as a challenge. Perhaps even compensation for the way both fiancé and brother had made a total muck-up of her life.
“Ye’re not gettin’ any younger,” he prompted.
“And you’re not getting any less arrogant.”
“Aye, don’t hold yer breath on that one.”
She stood there looking at him, her eyes lovely in the darkness, her face so beautiful it took his breath away.
He did not move, allowing her this decision, the respect to have it put in her hands; a respect that others might not have given her.
Her chin came up and her eyes suddenly caught the glint of the rising moon. “Very well, then,” she said. “You think you can make me feel something I doubt I’ll ever feel again? Then kiss me.”
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AUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog